Tee Tuesday: Why golf is so difficult | Sports

Hello Guam golfers!

Golf is the best COVID compatible sport and I am happy to see more new golfers on the island. However, playing golf is not as intuitive as most sports.

And how many times have you heard that learning golf is more difficult than other sports? Why is that?

In my experience teaching golf for over 20 years, I have found the top three reasons why.

Golf vs other ball sports

The design of a golf club differs from the equipment of other ball sports. For example, the face of a table tennis racket is aligned with your arm. As you swing upwards, the ping pong ball rises. When you swing, the ball goes down. It’s the same in tennis. When you swing up, the tennis ball goes up and vice versa.

Golf clubs are the opposite. When you swing the golf club up, the ball goes down and when you hit it, the ball goes up.

Why is the dynamic between golf club and golf ball the opposite of what we see in other sports? Because every golf club has its loft and its lie. Club loft determines the angle at which the club makes contact with the ball as the player swings. The loft of a club directly influences the distance traveled by the ball.

‘The moment of truth’

Most have trouble making a golf swing. What is the impact on the golf swing? This is when the face of the golf club meets the ball at the bottom. Yes!

Amateurs swing the club in the opposite direction – up. And they end up duffing, topping, skulling, you name it.

Experienced golfers know how to make solid contact when attacking a ball downward.

When a good player swings a low shot or downstroke, clubface loft works best. However, most amateur golfers attack the ball in the opposite direction. They try to help the ball go up in the air by picking up the club on impact.

A parallel game

The golfer sets up his body next to the target. In other sports, such as marksmanship and bowling, players face the target and line up directly on the target. Golfers don’t. Why? Because this target-centric setup causes incorrect alignment and aiming illusions.

In the pro-am golf tournament, many tour professionals are known to say, “The most common mistake amateur golfers make—compared to tour professionals—is neither power nor accuracy. It’s alignment.”

I will discuss these issues later in more detail.

Nathan D. Kang is a PGA Certified Professional and Golf Instructor at the Nathan Kang Golf Institute.

Michael C. Ford